Welcome to all of you with interest in the Dhamma. This Friday, we learn about Dhamma practice as normal. As we may know of already, the root that makes our mind be lowered and distressed are the qualities of greed, hatred, delusion, lobha, dosa, moha. Just this. The mind that is bright is the mind that has no greed, no hatred, no delusion–Alobha, adosa, amoha.
So our training of the mind which we do everyday is for the getting rid of selfishness and ego, and we may have been doing this since childhood. Children mostly don’t know about greed, hatred and delusion. But they may have been training their mind since young, like when their parents have been teaching them to build goodness since young. They may take their child to build goodness by giving alms food to the monks, and the child feels at ease offering this alms-food. And when the child has done acts of self-sacrifice, helping out others in small ways, they have inner happiness. So here we can see this is something natural. But it is also natural sometimes to have anger and holding onto that anger, but it arises, persists and then ceases. We can see that the mind of a child is a mind that is clear, a mind that is pure. Sometimes they have a bit of anger, they have greed or delusion, but it arises briefly, then it disappears. Their eyes are clear, there is a feeling of them being pure. But when they grow up, they receive external sense-impressions and there is a sense of self and ego coming up. The sense of me being different to them arises more and more. Being in society there is comparing with others. There arises the sense of self and suffering arises. The greed, anger, and delusion constantly increase, increase and increase.
This makes one feel that the mind is all over the place and muddled. The more that anger comes up, it holds and seizes one’s mind and they can’t put it down, they can’t drop it. So the Buddha said there is no grip like dosa, hatred. It’s something that holds firmly. This hatred grips our heart firm. So, it’s not just only with a particular individual, but it’s with every mind that arises. We have had anger before, we have been bound up with anger, and tied up with wanting revenge. Everyone has had this before, and this applies to any circumstances. Whether best friends, or a husband and wife who love each other, they must have moods which lead to conflicts and disputes. They have anger and bad moods like this constantly.
So what did the Buddha tell us to do? We have to have anger, but we try to bring up mindfulness. One Arahant monk has taught what is the thing we should bring with us? We should bring with us the quality of mindfulness and the quality of wisdom. You have it right with you. Wherever you go, you must have mindfulness with you as well. If you don’t have mindfulness, you don’t take it with you but instead carry something else, then that’s dangerous. Can you see that if you leave the house, and you forget something apart from your phone then it’s not a big deal, but if you forget the phone, then that’s not good. Because in the present day world, everything is on the phone, so you need to have your phone with you.
But the owner of the phone should also be careful, because it can be a dangerous weapon. Like there was a husband and wife arguing in the car. The wife got really angry and took her phone and threw it at the husband, without any intention to harm at all. But it hit the husband’s head and damaged his skull and in just a short time, the husband lost his life.
So where did this come from? It was because dosa, anger arose and it wasn’t kept in check. They weren’t careful. They didn’t restrain it, and so it arose like this. So this anger and ill-will has been around even since the Buddha’s time, and I have one story to share with you. In one past era, the Buddha was born in that life as the king of the Chaddanta elephants in the vast Himapan forest. In that existence, he had a number of elephant queens, and here he took a lotus to give to his queens. One of the queen elephants got that lotus and it had ants on it. The ants died in the queen elephant’s trunk and she had great pain, and so she was very upset at why the lotuses that the other elephants got were good and why hers had ants. So she held onto the grudge against the king elephant. She was very angry and wanted revenge, so she got some good honey and offered it to a Paccekabuddha, and made the determination that may she be born as a princess of a great king of a city, so that she could come back and get revenge for her grudge against the king Chaddanta elephant.
In the end, the result of that offering made her really be born as the princess of a great king. She was the daughter of the king and she asked her royal father to hire a skilled hunter to catch and get the tusks of the king Chaddanta elephant. So how to get these tusks? He would have to take the life of the king Chaddanta elephant. The hunter went into the Himmapan forest and was able to kill the king Chaddanta elephant and bring out the tusks. So then in this present life, she was reborn as a bhikkhuni and she could recollect her past life, that she had been a queen elephant and got in great pain because of the king Chaddanta elephant giving her a lotus with a lot of ants, so she sought revenge. As she was upset like that, she did not attain to becoming an Arahant. Then the Buddha saw that this bhikkhuni’s parami, spiritual qualities, were full and taught her about the past life Jataka about the king Chaddanta elephant, that yes, in that past life, she did receive that great pain from the Buddha but he had no intention to do that. But that she had held onto that grudge and revenge, and was born in the next life as a princess of a king, and had got a hunter to cut his tusks by killing him. His life was taken. She heard this and recollected that particular past life and saw that it was true, and she was dispassionate and sick of her dosa, her anger and vengeance of hers. So she relinquished it and gave it up. Contemplating into it, she attained Arahantship.
So we can see that in some lives, even with that much parami, one can still make mistakes. But however it is, this bhikkhuni has attained to being an Arahant. But we who are still here, have to be careful. This is an example for us that if we have anger arise, have greed arise, have delusion arise, then we have to keep it in check, restraint it, and have mindfulness. You have to take it with you.
The arahant monk said that the most important thing you have to take with you is mindfulness. Not your phone. You can forget that. But you can’t forget mindfulness. And everyone does have this mindfulness. The monks who come to ordain, it’s not that when they ordain, then their anger disappears, their greed and delusion disappears. It’s not like that. They ordain and it’s a convention. The day before they were the child of a householder, or they were just a householder, and then they ordain today and take up the convention of being a monk. But they are not yet a real monk. It’s not that one ordains, then instantly the greed is gone, the anger is gone, the delusion is gone. It’s not like that. They are still the same as a householder as they were before, it’s not any different. But they are different in that they have the uniform that they receive from the merit and parami of the Buddha, and they will then build goodness. They try to let go of greed, try to let go of anger, try to let go of delusion. And if one can’t do this, then train to have khanti, patience, forbearance. This is having mindfulness to the level of forbearance, to the level of suppressing the mind when you have moods and emotions come up. And when you have this already, then try to develop your mind to have metta, loving-kindness.
And in this world these days, just for a small thing, people can kill, fight, and harm each other. There’s a lot of this in present-day society. So the important thing is that if one of the persons has a cool mind, then even if the other person has a hot mind, it wont get serious. But if both are hot-headed, then it’s hard, it’s difficult.
Even with monks living together, they may have problems like this as well. I’ll share with you a story of when monks go tudong, wandering, together. They head out in groups of three or five monks. But when they come back to the monastery, how many monks come back? When they go walk tudong, they meet problems, they meet obstacles. One wants to stay and practise in a certain place, “I want to stay here”, but another wants to go on. One monk walks fast, the other monk walks slow, but they are travelling together. They go together for awhile, and then their patience and forbearance decreases and decreases. And the monks start separating. From what? Because of their own reasons. Each person has their own reasons. They have a sense of self, I, me and them. Then problems arise. Five monks went, but when they come back to the monastery, there are two or three monks left. “Ay, where is the other monk? Why isn’t the other monk coming back?” Then the others know there had to have been differing views and opinions. They didn’t get along. There were selfish views arising. So it’s like this. It’s normal. All the lay people and all the monks are like this. So we must try to train. Try to practise every day by bringing mindfulness with you. Like the arahant monk said, that the thing you need to bring with you is mindfulness. Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness. You have to bring it with you. And the thing that you need to carry with you is wisdom. Contemplate things. Or at the least be patient first. Bear it first. Forbear and be patient first.
So here we understand it as being the case for everyone. Like for dosa, anger, we all have this. So we must try to train and practise Dhamma, because if we can practise, then samadhi–concentration arises, rapture and inner joy arises. Then we are able to deal with the emotion or feelings coming up. But if we can’t do anything about it, then bear with it, be patient. Suppress and contain our minds. Keep trying at it, and later our mind will be cooler, bit by bit. We will know how to restrain and keep the mind in check, because we know that if we follow our moods and emotions, then danger can arise. Like we have seen in the jataka stories, of those who didn’t endure it, they may then have done something wrong and made a mistake. They could take the life of another. But when they became aware of what they had done, it was too late. They have harmed already, and they had done the wrong thing. So we have to be careful and be intent to set our minds on training and practising well. Do this continually. So you should train in this since being young children, students. If you don’t train in it, then later when you grow up, it will be a part of your character. So children should train to have a cool mind. Be cool headed. Have a mind that is considerate and generous. Have a mind that has metta. Then our mind gets better. So may all the Dhamma practitioners try to train your mind like this. May you grow in Dhamma.